Mavic's Essential Thermo gloves are impressive winter warmers, which manage to provide great protection and a comfortable, low-profile fit for anything but the very coldest weather.
Pros: Good dexterity, water resistant and windproof, quite warm, comfortable
Cons: Thermal lining required in near-freezing temperatures
There's always a balance to be struck with winter gloves, and inevitably there's a trade-off involved. You can go for thicker, chunkier, insulated gloves that arguably offer more protection from the cold but sacrifice feel and dexterity in the fingers, or go down the softshell route which can yield a more supple glove, but with a little less protection.
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The Essential Thermo gloves are of the second type, but don't let that sway you into thinking they're going to come unstuck at the first sign of cold easterly winds or rainfall.
The windproof fabric Mavic has used here is seriously impressive at keeping out penetrating winds, while it's well backed up by the quality of the stitching, which has seemingly been cleverly positioned away from direct wind when sat either on the hoods or the drops.
Another key to warmth is circulation, and the fit and flexibility of the fabric is very much tailored to avoid any cutting into your hand webbing or restriction. Moreover, the 'Ergo Pad Ortholite' padding on the palms helps to reduce pressure points there, so blood supply is left unaffected.
I tend not to need to wear gloves for this purpose when riding, and its effectiveness will be dependent on the individual (a bit like saddles, to be honest), but the strategic placing of the 2mm-thick foam padding covers the three key areas of the hand traditionally subject to excess pressure.
This leads to a glove that is very comfortable to wear, made even more so by the fleece interior that runs right to the ends of the fingers. That adds a level of warmth that had me comfortable in temperatures reaching around an ambient 5-6°C (plus windchill), but it's not quite enough when a frost hits and you're dealing with stuff approaching zero. You can't have everything, though.
They aren't fully waterproof either, but in showery weather they're well up to the task with a DWR treatment that can handle light to moderate showers. Once again, heavier weather calls for slightly hardier gloves, but in anything that I'm likely to be willing to ride in this winter (voluntarily, anyway), they're absolutely fine.
Naturally, to preserve this treatment you're better off washing them with your techy outer garments, but the good news here at least is that the cuffs don't have Velcro, but a little stretchable insert that gives enough space to get your hand in, then produces a reasonable fit around your wrist (and jacket cuff) to keep out draughts.
The thumb and fore and middle fingers feature grippy nodules to provide extra grip, which is good when your shifters are wet, but these don't make the gloves touchscreen operable. To be honest, I'm over touchscreen pads in gloves now – even if you can operate it, I find you don't have the fidelity of touch to write a text anyway, so I'm not all that fussed by this omission.
You get soft nose-wipe panels on the backs of the thumbs, while the outside three fingers also feature reflective nodules on the tops for a little added visibility in tandem with the yellow Mavic branding. It's a slight shame that the big black branding couldn't have had some form of reflectivity to it too, but it's hardly the end of the world – to be honest, the gloves look sleek and smart and match nicely to whatever other kit I've been testing this autumn/winter season so far.
Coming in at £39, they're not all that expensive either for the performance they provide. Gore's comparable M Gore Windstoppers are three quid more, although Madison's excellent Avalanche gloves are £32.99. Mavic's own Ksyrium Pro Thermo gloves are designed to offer more protection, with a price tag of £70 reflecting that.
> Buyer's Guide: 21 of the best winter cycling gloves
These are the first mid-weight gloves that I've personally rated this highly since the Gore Element Urban Windstoppers that I reviewed almost three years ago. Those were £54.99 at time of writing too, which goes to show just how much ability Mavic has squeezed in here.
For everything but the coldest weather, the Essential Thermo Gloves will see you through in comfort
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Make and model: Mavic Essential Thermo Glove
Tell us what the product is for
Mavic says: "These full-finger gloves can take everything the road throws at you thanks to a softshell membrane with water-resistant treatment and a soft fleece lining for extra warmth. Added to this, you get our Ergo Palm construction with EVA foam to protect your hands from bumps and vibrations, a long cuff and an ergo strap to keep them secure.
"There's even silicon grip on the fingers for added dexterity in the wet and reflective highlights to keep you visible in poor light."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Warmth and wind protection
- Stretch windproof fabric with a DWR treatment protects from wind and water spray
- Soft fleece lining feels cozy and warm
- 2mm Ergo Pad Ortholite® foam on the palms helps absorb handlebar vibrations
- Silicone grip on finger tips
- Longer-finger glove
- Reflective dots on finger ensure a good visibility whilst riding
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Almost faultless if you ask me; top quality.
Rate the product for performance:
In anything but the very coldest weather, they're top performers.
Rate the product for durability:
The softshell-like fabric seems tough enough to deal with whatever might be thrown at it.
Rate the product for fit:
The fingers are long which helps with my personal fit, while there's little spare fabric.
Rate the product for sizing:
These large gloves size up as I'd expect, while there are two bigger sizes than this for those with tennis racquets for hands.
Rate the product for weight:
71g is heavier than Gore's M Gore Windstoppers, but it's hardly a problem.
Rate the product for comfort:
The fit helps here, but the padding and fleece lining are also big positives.
Rate the product for value:
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to wash, with no Velcro. Try to look after the DWR treatment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The best I've come across in a long while.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good dexterity, water resistant and windproof, quite warm, comfortable...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not quite hardy enough for the coldest temperatures.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Coming in at £39, these aren't all that expensive for the performance they provide. Gore's comparable M Gore Windstoppers are three quid more, although Madison's excellent Avalanche gloves are £32.99
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, wholeheartedly.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Aside from the slight lack of warmth when the mercury dips very near zero, there's very little that's negative about these gloves.
Age: 29 Height: 188cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
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